Both the Marauders (16-3) and Manatees (11-6) entered Tuesday's action as the probable top seeds for the playoffs. The Marauders are already guaranteed either the one or two seed. The only team with a chance to overtake the Marauders for the top position in the IMG Wood Bat League before the playoffs would be the Manatees. A win for the Manatees would pull them within two games of the Marauders with the season winding down.
Pitching dominated in the early going as Bex Trout of the Manatees dueled with John Sakellariadis of the Marauders. Trout recorded 5 strikeouts in his first 6 outs to set a tone for the game. Sakellariadis sat the Manatees down in order in the first two innings as the game remained scoreless.
The Marauders struck first in the third inning. After Bex Trout retired the first two batters, Peter Siegle started the Marauders two out rally. He walked showing great plate discipline by taking a borderline fastball on his 3-2 count. Greg Lough followed with a single. Tyler Helphenstine supplied the power by hitting a double to deep left and scoring both baserunners. Alec Linebarger also recorded an RBI in the inning with a single. The two out surge amounted to three runs and the Marauders were out to a 3-0 lead.
The Manatees were not held down long as they put their first runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Giovanny Cordero reached on an error and Marty Greinke smacked a triple which scored Cordero. Mateju Sutcha hit an RBI groundout to add another run but the threat was over after two runs had scored.
The Manatees continued chipping away in the fifth as Jake Bader singled. After a stolen base, Sam Dent singled to tie the game at three. The momentum had clearly switched to the Manatees side as Bex Trout continued mowing down hitters.
The Manatees kept adding to their lead slowly but surely in the sixth and seventh; posting one run in each inning. In the sixth the Manatees moved over their first baserunner, Mike Roberts, on a Giovanny Cordero bunt. Marty Greinke hit a sacrifice fly to advance Roberts to 3rd. Mateju Sutcha then singled to give the Manatees the lead.
Jack Hurdle added to the lead, scoring in the seventh. The end of the seventh also brought an end to Bex Trout's pitching outing. Over seven innings of work he struck out 12 and left the game with a 5-3 lead over the league leading Marauders.
The Marauders however, showed their true colors in the top of the eighth, fighting back to regain the lead. Eli Obstfeld walked and Jorge Leon was hit by a pitch. Peter Siegle followed with a clutch double that tied the game at five. Greg Lough reached base on a fielders' choice and eventually scored the go ahead run on a fielding error.
Lucas Donovan came in to shut the door on the Manatees. His first inning of work went well as he retired the side in order and struck a batter out along the way. The bottom of the ninth was a slightly different story as Carlos Somoza doubled to put the tying run in scoring position. Donovan buckled down though and preserved a 6-5 win for the Marauders.
With the win the Marauders move to 17-3 and are almost guaranteed first place in the regular season. The Manatees fall to 11-7 but with the Hurricanes beating the Lightning, the result will not be too harmful as the Manatees are safely in second place.
In other action around the league:
Conquistadors 11 14 0
Sea Dogs 5 9 0
WP- Anthony Martine, 5.33IP, 3R, 4BB, 5H
Top Performer-Conner Andrews went 3 for 5 2R,2H, 2B, 2RBI's, SB
Hurricanes 9 13 0
Lightning 6 9 2
WP- Zach Pearson- 5IP, 2H, ER, 2Ks
Top Performer-Zunnel Rosa went 1 for 2, R, 2B, 3RBI's, BB, SB.
Manatees 5 8 0
Marauders 6 7 2
WP- Lucas Donovan 2IP, H, 1K 0R
Top Performer- Tyler Helphenstine went 2 for 4 with 2R, 2 2B, 3RBI's
Team: W L T GB
Marauders 17 3 0 0
Manatees 11 7 0 5
Conquistadors 9 11 0 9
Lightning 8 11 1 9.5
Hurricanes 8 12 0 10
Sea Dogs 4 13 1 11.5